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Why should elderly have to pay twice for their nursing care?

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 25, 2012

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National Insurance contributions were designed to finance state pension and other allowances, and insure against illness. But, as Tom Williams warns, that is no longer the case.

If anyone working were asked what do they pay their employment stamp (National Insurance Contribution) for, probably many would not be able to answer.

The majority would not know that this payment, plus their employer's contribution, is paid into the National Insurance Fund, and that this was originally created to provide the money for the State Pensions when they reached retirement age, and nursing care and other allied benefits.

Money paid in good faith. The majority also would not know that this government (and previous governments) has destroyed the original legal protection this Fund had and is now using the billions of pounds surplus to, in their own words, reduce their borrowing requirements and keep income tax from going even higher.

At one time the National Insurance Fund had more than £50 billion surplus, and despite this government "borrowing" it still shows more than £30 billion surplus. Considering the billions of pounds still being paid every year by employees and employers in National Insurance Contributions, the extent of this government 'borrowing' becomes very clear.

This brief history may help to explain the current tragedy of providing long-term care in this country, and why our uncaring materialistic leaders treat vulnerable old and often sick people as commodities. Local councils are as guilty as governments and only too happy to off-load their responsibilities, from caring for old people to providing decent accommodation at fair rents to desperate decent people. Their claim of getting better value for money to justify reneging on their social duties is wearing very thin.

We now have the situation where the old and the young are treated probably worse than in the old workhouses of the Victorian days, and apart from the immediate family and friends – does anyone care?

Now looking at the cost of staying in these homes, we seem prepared to accept weekly figures of anything up to £900 per week (£128.50 per day) per person, this is more than the daily rate of cruising on a luxury liner to America and this includes travel and entertainment. This coalition government claims to be considering ways for pensioners to pay for this care with suggestions of lump sums/insurance schemes etc, happily ignoring the fact that we have already paid for this care through our employment stamps. Ministers claim we should be grateful if this saves the family home from being forcibly sold, for those of us who own their own house?

Perhaps they should consider that as we have already paid for the nursing care element then the only cost we should be asked to pay for is bed and board, and I think most people would accept this as reasonable. However, this should be based on the State Pension for a single person, and what we would pay for this at home. So on the current State Pension of almost £100 per week, perhaps £75 would be more than generous. This should apply to all care and residential homes, hospitals, etc.

If governments stopped 'borrowing' the surplus money in the National Insurance Fund and put these billions of pounds towards its intended use, this would pay for all the nursing and residential care costs.

While this country seems happy to provide an international health service and ignores a very wasteful administration in the NHS, why should the elderly have to sell their homes to pay for this generosity and poor financial control?

Pensioners must wake up and take their heads out of the sand; it is obvious no one else is going to help them so join your nearest Pensioners Action group and start fighting back, stop staying on the sidelines wringing your hands. You won the Second World War – now help us to win this war.

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